Off on Your OWN Girl!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no fan of Oprah Winfrey. I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone that’s ever come across this page, but there may be one or two of you that didn’t know. I was texted, e-mailed and tweeted numerous times over the last week about the launch of OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network and each time I thought to myself, why the hell would these people ask me if I was watching?

Shockingly, I did watch, well one show. There was a program named “Master Class” that featured Jay-Z, so of course I was gonna check the Jigga Man out, but as soon as the credits ran, I did too. This station wasn’t made for me, much like her show hasn’t had me in mind for years. OWN was created to bring her talk show audience more of what they watch for and possibly to dent Lifetime’s ratings. Yeah, another station for that demographic that struggles with...well, everything. Truth be told, OWN had two Black folks on all day and probably the entire first week, Oprah and Jay-Z. I guess there was an appearance or two from BFF Gayle. But that’s my problem, you have all the power, your name on the marquee and your programming lacks diversity? If that’s not enough to make you change the channel, I don’t know what is.

There are folks that look to Oprah like she is the second coming or some sage on how to live your life and believes she’s beyond reproach. Sure, she’s given some money here, produced a movie, gave Fantasia some work and started a school in South Africa. That’s good, fantastic, on a day-to-day basis she’s talking to Middle America, her bread and butter. Her core audience looks nothing like you and doesn’t have the set of values or the issues you struggle with daily, save of course for the occasional Weezy Jefferson sister that’s moved on up to become the bourgeoisie.

Her shows aren’t aimed at Shaniqua with the Oprah weave and knockoff purse that’s struggling to pay the bills and find a man, she doesn’t care if you’re watching, but you’ve deified her because of her ascension up the Forbes’ list. In the last two weeks I’ve seen several articles and blog posts aimed at Chris Rock for poking fun of her at the recent Kennedy Center Honors program, calling his jokes inappropriate or out of place. He’s a comedian, they should’ve called James Earl Jones if they wanted a distinguished gentleman. But who is Oprah not to be roasted in open space? Jesus? Well, they talked about him and I know many you rank Oprah higher on your depth chart than J.C., but she falls a little short in her work.

Folks came rushing to her defense, like she was being bullied or like she actually represents them. She’s not one of your girls, she doesn’t speak for you and doesn’t display any of your best qualities for the world to see daily. I don’t dismiss her accomplishments, I’m proud of her as a Black woman, but I’m not a fool either. Oprah learned the difference between real money and nigger pennies long before her name became the holy grail for everything good.

Now she’s going to give her rubber stamp of approval to a lucky contestant on “Your OWN Show”, a new reality series debuting on OWN tonight that will give the winner their own show on her network. Ask Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and Rachel Ray how long her name goes. There’s even a 50/50 chance that a brother or sister will get their OWN show, wow! That’s to keep all the Christy’s in every city and Tiffany Lane’s watching, yeah, all of those sisters trying to see themselves through Oprah’s eyes. But she’s not looking at you; she’s looking past you and has been for the last 25 years!

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